The continued detention of Mahmoud Hussein, a 20-year-old student who has spent more than two years in jail without charge or trial as of today, is yet another appalling example of the ruthless and repressive tactics Egypt is resorting to in a bid to crush dissent, said Amnesty International.
Under Egyptian law, the maximum time a person can be detained without being tried or sentenced is an already excessively long period of two years, for those facing accusations that could lead to life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Mahmoud Hussein was arrested at the age of 18 for wearing a “Nation Without Torture” t-shirt and a scarf with the logo of “25 January Revolution.” He has also been tortured in detention and forced to sign a “confession” by the National Security Agency.
“Mahmoud Hussein’s continuing detention for more than two years is an utter disgrace and an affront to justice. He should not be forced to spend a single day longer in prison. No one should be arrested or detained simply because of slogans on the t-shirt or scarf they’ve chosen to wear – let alone imprisoned for two years and facing torture and other ill-treatment in detention,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.
“By continuing to detain Mahmoud Hussein the Egyptian authorities are flagrantly flouting Egyptian and international law and making a mockery of President Abdelfattah al-Sisi’s claims that 2016 will be the ‘year of the youth in Egypt.’ Instead of delivering false promises and arbitrarily incarcerating prisoners of conscience for years at a time, the Egyptian authorities should end this gross injustice by immediately and unconditionally releasing Mahmoud Hussein and anyone else who has been unlawfully detained for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.”
Under the provisions of Egypt’s Criminal Procedures Law (Article 143) a detainee facing accusations that could lead to life imprisonment or the death penalty must be released immediately if he or she is not sentenced within the pre-trial detention limit of two years. Mahmoud Hussein is among more than 700 detainees held for more than two years without being sentenced across the country.